Friday, October 21, 2011

25 thing update

Remember my "25 things" list? I wrote about it here if you need to get filled in. Anyway, here's an update. If it is in bold with a line through it, then it is complete. If it is in bold without a line, then it is in the process. Those that are left have yet to be done.

1. Take a road-trip.
2. Visit a museum.
3. Dance every day.- so far so good:)
4. Read 12 books.- 5 down 7 to go. Maybe I should have set a higher goal? I think I'm also going to do a little book review for everyone. Anyone else out there loving some new books?
5. Skinny dip.
6. Pick up a new sport/hobby. 
7. Go camping.
8. Sleep under the stars.
9. Go on a wine-tasting tour.
10. Learn new recipes. 
11. Skydive or bungee jump.
12. Spend an entire day in bed.
13. Go on a long hike.
14. Visit the Birmingham Zoo.
15. Have a picnic lunch. 
16. Snowboard.
17. Go rock climbing.
18. Ride a roller coaster.
19. Work on my Spanish.
20. Visit the Coca-Cola factory.
21. Surprise Patrick with something nice.
22. Get a massage.- booked and ready to go
23. Learn to drive a manual.
24. Finally watch Dumb and Dumber.
25. Partake in the ever popular BYOB and painting experience.

Not too bad for three months in, right? 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Not only have I been sick with what we believe to be walking pneumonia, my computer has also been under the weather (and by that, I mean it's done for)... We are doing our best to get it fixed but things don't look good. So while I finish my antibiotic treatment and recover my voice (yes, I have laryngitis as well), we are going to start looking at our options. If I end up needing a new computer, we will probably be going for a MAC.

So once again, I am way behind in my projects and postings. I've actually done some work on the patio furniture, but I will have to update later on the progress and the major snag that I ran into with it. Hopefully I will have a working computer, voice, and lungs very soon.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Last night I made laundry detergent using three simple ingredients: shaved bar soap, borax, and washing soda. After considering both options, I decided to go with powder instead of liquid detergent. I just didn't want to mess with boiling water or obtaining a two gallon bucket. Here are the very simple ingredients and steps.

The ingredients:

Bar soap, Borax, and Washing Powder. That's it folks!

The Steps:

1 bar of shaved bar soap. I used Fels-Naptha which is sold as laundry bar soap for $0.99

Yep, you get to shave it yourself! The only time consuming part.

 1 cup of borax. I purchased 20 Mule Teams 76 oz box for $3.99

It's a little messy when it decides to come out in clumps.

 1 cup of washing soda. I purchased a 55 oz box of Arm and Hammer washing soda for $2.50

It came out much more easily.

 Now take your ingredients either stir for five minutes or process until well blended.

Prior to processing.
After processing. Ready for use!

You only need to add 1 tablespoon for each load of laundry. If it is heavily soiled then you can use 2 tablespoons. This batch that I made yielded 3 cups which will give me approximately 48 loads of laundry. I did spend $7.48 on my supplies, but keep in mind that I have plenty of borax and washing soda left so I can make more. All I will have to do is purchase more bar soap.

I should be able to make 7 batches with the supplies that I have. So for approximately $13.42 (this is when I added the cost for more bar soap) I will be able to do 336 loads of laundry. It ends up being about $0.04 per load. Even though this is rough (and I mean rough) math, it's a pretty good deal.

I just can't get over how easy this was to make. It took me about 5 or 10 minutes. I'll definitely do it again. Now, will it clean? I have several friends who have used this method and say that it does. Keep in mind that it will not sud as much as store bought detergent, but it is still cleaning. Oh, and if you're wondering where to find all of these random supplies, I purchased all of mine on the cleaning isle at Publix.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Napa Valley

I went to a conference a couple weeks ago (just one of the reasons I haven't posted in ages) related to integrative medicine in women's healthcare.The conference just happened to be in Napa, California. Rough... I know. The conference was okay, but Napa was wonderful. It is a beautiful area. Just take a look.

So when my three coworkers and I weren't conferencing, we had the opportunity to explore this beautiful area and of course, taste wine! I didn't realize how accessible the wineries are. You literally can drive up to just about any of them and pay for a tasting. Our first wine tour was at Castello di Amorosa. Their tour and tasting was phenomenal. We got to taste the grapes, see where they make the wine, taste wine directly from a barrel, and then had a great tutorial and tasting experience at the end of the tour.

The place is a castle and a winery. It was neat hearing about how they integrated the two.

The picture above is our tour guide pulling some grapes out for us to eat and the one below is the grapes about to be separated from the vine.

I had a wonderful time learning about wine, hanging out with great girls, and eating delicious food. We visited about 6 or 7 wineries. Don't worry, I'm not a wine snob though! I'll still be purchasing cheap wine that I think tastes just as good. If you don't think that's possible try reading The Wine Trials. The book reports interesting results following blind tastings of wines priced anywhere from under $15 to $150 per bottle. I tend to agree with one of the girls that was with me on the trip when she said, "It's just not that deep to me."

So, while you won't ever find me heading out to purchase expensive wine, I have an appreciation for the work and money these people put into making their product. I had no idea that it takes at least three years of growing grapes before they are ready to be used for wine. I also learned that the type of soil and temperature the grapes grow in effects what type of wine you can make. I mean, I could go on and on here about the craziness of wine making. I would not want it for my job.

While Napa was fun, it is good to be home for a while. There are no more big trips hanging around the corner so I feel like I can settle back into a routine. I mean, I went to the grocery store for the first time in over a month on Wednesday. It felt good. I promise that projects will return now that I am returning to normal life. I'm going to try and play catch up. I am itching to get started on something.